In understanding the meaning of the phrase “cradle to grave,” it often helps to think in terms of an ongoing process. Essentially, the use of cradle to grave means to assess and monitor a subject or object for the entire period from birth to death. From this perspective, answering the question of what this phrase means relies on understanding the impact of the subject as well as how the subject reacts to various stimuli throughout its life.
Cradle to grave cycles or assessments is an assessment that tracks the life of a product from the point of creation until the disposal of the product takes place. The idea of this type of product analysis is to determine how the product respond to various situations and applications throughout the life of the product. The data obtained from an in-depth study like a cradle to grave assessment often makes it possible to enhance the product over time, thus increasing the demand and the marketability of the product.
The concept of a cradle-to-grave analysis can be applied in a number of different settings. In terms of a life cycle assessment (LCA) for a product, several factors will be given close scrutiny. The degree of impact of such common processes as materials used in manufacturing, packing and transportation, and uses of the product are tracked and assessed. In addition, the proper disposal once the product has been exhausted of usefulness figures prominently in making good products better. A cradle to grave mean analysis can lead to broadening the range of needs and desires that are fulfilled by the product, and improving the process of disposal so that the impact on the environment is minimized.
Sometimes referred to as a life cycle analysis, the actual strategy of implementing a full-fledged cradle to grave mean assessment requires a great deal of cooperation between various departments within the company. The raw materials that are used to create the product must be of specific quality. Refinement and assembly during the manufacturing process requires that operational personnel provide periodic updates on how well those raw materials respond to the process. The shipping department provides data on how well the finished products travel, while marketing and research areas of the company evaluate how well the product is meeting consumer demands.
While the disposal of products were not always of major importance, this aspect of the cradle to grave mean analysis has gained more attention as companies begin to become green and seek to help maintain the ecobalance. Today, the goal is often to make sure the materials used to create the product can be recycled or reused in some manner, rather than creating more waste for landfills or otherwise littering the landscape. Often, this aspect of a cradle to grave mean analysis seeks to find ways to make use of the remnants of the product to create new products or in some way contribute to the general well being of the environment.